Direct Line magazine

Who's responsible for drain repairs?

Updated on: 21 May 2020

a drain

Don't let drain repairs, drain your bank account

It doesn't take long to notice blocked drains. Toilets that won’t flush properly will win your attention pretty quickly. Of course you want the problem fixed right away, but don't rush to pay for expensive repairs unless you have to. You're only responsible for your own drains.

What's the law?

It used to be a legal requirement for homeowners to maintain shared 'private' sewers within their property — as well as some drains outside the property boundaries.

However, as of October 2011, things have changed. Water and sewerage companies are now responsible for these repairs. But don't expect them to shout it from the rooftops.

What are you responsible for?

Your drains, and your drains only. No matter what anyone else tells you, you're only responsible for the drains used by your home. Even if your drain meets a neighbour's, you're only accountable for your part of the drain.

How do you report a blocked drain?

If a blocked drain is causing problems you can contact your council's environmental health department to find out who's responsible for its repair.

It's also a good idea to contact your water company. If you’re unsure who this is, visit Water UK and enter your postcode.

And that's all there is to it. There's really no need to let your drains drive you insane.

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